Written by Sadiq bin Mas’uud
Music playing in the background. Six hundred eager people conversing and anticipating the arrival of the bride.
Enter the bride.
A dazzling young beauty, laden with only the finest and softest materials enters the hall. Glittery ornaments sparkling in her hair and diamond earrings hanging low, result in some favourable murmurs and nods of approval amongst the women and leaves others baffled at how she managed to grow double her hair length overnight. She smiles, walks down the aisle, and approaches her husband who carefully hands her an exquisite bouquet of the choicest flowers and takes her seat next to him on centre stage. She holds her head and shoulders as a proper bride should—high and elegant. Some start making their way to the front for family photos, handing over gifts, and congratulating the newlyweds. The slideshow on the wall project family photos over the years and the live DJs engage the audience with some heartwarming tunes to get the mood rolling.
Amidst the clattering of forks and knives enjoying the five-course meal, eyes focus on the young lady who has taken the mike on stage. The bride’s sister says thanks the guests for attending, despite the big derby game, City vs. United, drawing some laughs in the audience, especially amongst the brothers. She says a few words to embarrass the bride, wishes her well on her life ahead and jokingly threatens the groom to make sure he takes care of her (not-so) little sister. She proceeds by adding,
“We pray Allah makes her a wife like Fatimah (R) and him a husband like Ali (R). May they live the lives of the Sahabahs before us and follow in the footsteps of Nabi ﷺ …”
I tuned out, too busy looking around me. Everyone clapped and happily resumed their meals.
Exeunt. Curtains fall.
Was I the only one who found her speech a little pretentious? Ameen to the beautiful Du’aas and Allah is the sole judge of our hearts, but to make a mockery of the Sunnah like that? I was offended. Couples want to court before marriage; they want to choose a best man for their wedding; brothers want the best cars to take their new bride home; sisters demand a mind-blowing Mahr and want a henna ceremony dancing to Bollywood tunes, an over-night hen party (the list goes on and on and on) and then they expect a marriage like the queen of the women of Jannah? We have functions of rife as a public challenge to Allah, inviting his wrath and then expect His Mercy and blessings in it as if we have a right to it? The audacity! My beloved Nabi’s ﷺ life and his families’ lives aren’t there to flower our events and to tick the box for the more “religious” in the crowd; or to balance all the wrongs in the event by adding a few Islamic lines; or to appease our guilt in carrying out such an event. The life of Nabi ﷺ and the lives of the Sahabah (R) and Sahabiyaat (R) are there as examples for you and I to emulate in EVERY aspect of our lives including marriage. A marriage is a sacred union between two people, and it is our duty to keep it sacred. My beloved Nabi ﷺ said,
اعظم النكاح ايسرها مؤنة
“The most blessed Nikah is the one with the least expenditure.” 
When my Nabi ﷺ asked his soon to be son-in-law Ali (R) what he had as Mahr to present to his daughter Fatimah (R), he replied that he only owned a sword, an armour, and a horse.  He sold his armour for four hundred and eighty dirhams which was then presented as a very simple dowry to Fatimah (R). For the wedding feast, Sa’d bin Ubadah (R) offered a sheep and some Ansar offered some corn.  The simplicity and ease of their weddings was what put so much Barakah and happiness in their marriages. Nabi ﷺ instructed,
“Hold a wedding feast, even if only with a sheep.” 
Nabi ﷺ himself, gave simple wedding feasts to mark his marriages. Safiyya Bint Shaibah (R) narrates, “The Prophet ﷺ gave a banquet of two Mudds (3.5 kg) of barley on marrying some of his wives.” 
To consummate his ﷺ’s marriage with Safiyyah Bint Huyay (R), Anas (R) narrates, “The Prophet ﷺ ordered for the leather dining sheets to be spread, and then dates, dried yoghurt and butter were provided over it, and that was the Walimah of the Prophet.”  If we tried to emulate these Sunnahs of our beloved Nabi ﷺ in our weddings, then we’d see them naturally turn into beautiful marriages In sha Allah!
 Bayhaqi in his Shu’ab al-Iman & Mishkat al-Masabih
 Kifayat at-Taalib, Bihar al-Anwaar
 Kanzul Umaal
 Sahih Bukhari
 Sahih Bukhari
 Sahih Bukhari
Zainab Bint Husain
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
There is no doubt marriage is becoming harder for some people. And when you go to see a potential partner you may struggle to ask the right questions. Here is a list someone sent me:
(Pick and choose the right questions, obviously you are not going to ask all the questions)
1. What is your concept of marriage?
2. Have you been married before?
3. Are you married now?
4. What are your expectations of marriage?
5. Why have you chosen me/other person as a potential spouse?
6. What are your goals in life? (long and short term)
7. Identify three things that you want to accomplish in the near future.
8. Identify three things that you want to accomplish, long term.
9. What is the role of religion in your life now?
10. Are you a spiritual person?
11. What is your understanding of an Islamic marriage?
12. What are you expecting of your spouse, religiously?
13. What is your relationship between you and the Muslim community in your area?
14. Are you volunteering in any Islamic activities?
15. What can you offer your spouse spiritually?
16. What is the role of the husband?
17. What is the role of the wife?
18. Do you want to practice polygamy?
19. What is your relationship with your family?
20. What do you expect your relationship with the family of your spouse to be?
21. What do you expect your spouses relationship with your family to be?
22. Is there anyone in your family living with you now?
23. Are you planning to have anyone in your family live with you in the future?
24. If, for any reason, my relationship with your family turns sour, what should be done?
25. Who are your friends? (Identify at least three.)
26. How did you get to know them?
27. Why are they your friends?
28. What do you like most about them?
29. What will your relationship with them after marriage be?
30. Do you have friends of the opposite sex?
31. What is the level of your relationship with them now?
32. What will be the level of your relationship with them after marriage?
33. What type of relationship do you want your spouse to have with your friends?
34. What are the things that you do in your free time?
35. Do you love to have guests in your home for entertainment?
36. What are you expecting from your spouse when your friends come to the house?
37. What is your opinion of speaking other languages in home that I do not understand? (with friends or family)
38. Do you travel?
39. How do you spend your vacations?
40. How do you think your spouse should spend vacations?
41. Do you read?
42. What do you read?
43. After marriage, do you think that you are one to express romantic feelings verbally?
44. After marriage, do you think that you want to express affection in public?
45. How do you express your admiration for someone that you know now?
46. How do you express your feelings to someone who has done a favour for you?
47. Do you like to write your feelings?
48. If you wronged someone, how do you apologize?
49. If someone has wronged you, how do you want she/he to apologize to you?
50. How much time passes before you can forgive someone?
51. How do you make important and less important decisions in your life?
52. Do you use foul language at home? In public? With family?
53. Do your friends use foul language?
54. Does your family use foul language?
55. How do you express anger?
56. How do you expect your spouse to express anger?
57. What do you do when you are angry?
58. When do you think it is appropriate to initiate mediation in marriage?
59. When there is a dispute in your marriage, religious or otherwise, how should the
conflict get resolved?
60. Define mental, verbal, emotional and physical abuse.
61. What would you do if you felt that you had been abused?
62. Who would you call for assistance if you were being abused?
63. Do you suffer from any chronic disease or condition?
64. Are you willing to take a physical exam by a physician before marriage?
65. What is your understanding of proper health and nutrition?
66. How do you support your own health and nutrition?
67. What is you definition of wealth?
68. How do you spend money?
69. How do you save money?
70. How do you think that your use of money will change after marriage?
71. Do you have any debts now? If so, how are you making progress to eliminate them?
72. Do you use credit cards?
73. Do you support the idea of taking loans to buy a new home?
74. What are you expecting from your spouse financially?
75. What is your financial responsibility in the marriage?
76. Do you support the idea of a working wife?
77. If so, how do you think a dual-income family should manage funds?
78. Do you currently use a budget to manage your finances?
79. Who are the people to whom you are financially responsible?
80. Do you support the idea of utilizing baby sitters and/or maids?
81. Do you want to have children? If not, why?
82. To the best of your understanding, are you able to have children?
83. Do you want to have children in the first two years of marriage? If not, when?
84. Do you believe in abortion?
85. Do you have children now?
86. What is your relationship with your children now?
87. What is your relationship with their other parent?
88. What relationship do you expect your spouse to have with your children and their parent?
89. What is the best method(s) of raising children?
90. What is the best method(s) of disciplining children?
91. How were you raised?
92. How were you disciplined?
93. Do you believe in spanking children? Under what circumstances?
94. Do you believe in public school for your children?
95. Do you believe in Islamic school for your children?
96. Do you believe in home schooling for your children?
97. What type of relationship should your children have with non-Muslim classmates/friends?
98. Would you send your children to visit their extended family if they lived in another state or country?
99. What type of relationship do you want your children to have with all their grandparents?
100. If there are members of my family that are not Muslim, that are of different race or culture, what type of relationship do you want to have with them?
I will also add the istikhara dua, to pray after two rak’at nafl salah:
Where the words “Hathal amr” appear twice (underlined) think of the matter you are asking for.